Servicing Special Needs Children With the Delevan Drive Club
Blogger: Natalie De Benedetti
As a first year on campus, my favorite way to get involved at Oxy is through the abundance of clubs students organize and lead. I am a member of Microfinance club, Delevan Drive club, and Dance Production. Each club I am a part of has a very different goal: financially supporting small entrepreneurs in developing countries, helping disabled children do arts and crafts projects, or performing in a spirited dance showcase during the spring semester, respectively.
Last week was my first visit to Delevan Drive Elementary School with the Delevan Drive club. The students in the two first grade classes are disabled to different extents. Some have learning disabilities, and others are in wheelchairs. Each classroom had at least 3 teachers to help the students with their work, projects, and behavior. It was necessary to have this many teachers for the students due to the students’ range of disabilities and needs, but this extra assistance also illuminated how the school supported and believed in the children regardless of their ability. Delevan Drive Elementary School is not a special school for disabled students, but these two classes were made up entirely of disabled children so that they could receive the aid and support they needed.
The president of the club is a sophomore student named Meghan who had been a member of the club last year, and took on the role as leader this year. Each week Meghan invents a new craft that the children will create that week. This past week we made dinosaurs with the children out of paper plates, and attached colorful paper heads, tails, and feet to each animal. The students painted or drew on the white plates to make their dinosaur unique and personal.
The reaction the students had to our visit was heartwarming. Some of the children even remembered the name of Occidental and the projects they had participated in previously, illuminating the positive impact this club has on the elementary school students. They were eager to start the craft and devoted to making their dinosaur as creative as possible. I thoroughly enjoyed helping each student. While some students needed little to no help, and just wanted to talk to us, others were nearly unable to do the project at all due to their disability.
Delevan Drive club is one of the great clubs offered at Oxy, and one that connects our college to the neighborhood of Eagle Rock. I particularly enjoy being a part of this club because it is a lot of fun to do art projects with such cute and energetic young students.